No border disruptions in Lithuania as Polish farmers start protests – SBGS

  • 2024-03-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As Polish farmers launched week-long mass protests across the country, including near the border with Lithuania, on Wednesday, Lithuania's State Border Guard Service says no problems have been reported from the border so far.

Meanwhile, Vytautas Milenas, secretary general of Linava, the national road carriers' association, says drivers have to detour to avoid the roads blocked by protesters, and have more problems when traveling to Germany via Frankfurt (Oder).

Giedrius Misutis, spokesman for the SVGS, says Polish officers are regulating traffic on the Polish side near the border where farmers are blocking the road. Traffic is being diverted to other roads. 

According to Milenas, drivers traveling through Poland are experiencing problems, although they are bypassing the protest sites. He says drivers have been provided an interactive map of Poland, prepared by the International Road Transport Union (IRU), showing the locations of the road blockades.

"Our haulers are using it and they are taking side roads. (...) I don't know how things will move further, but so far we have plenty of misunderstandings, but it is possible to go around (the places of protests - BNS), and not to complain too much about them. Haulers are trying to adjust their routes by taking other roads," Milenas told BNS. 

The map shows that roads near the Lithuanian border are being blocked in two places: near the former Kalvarija-Budzisko checkpoint near the village of Sipliske and near the former Lazdijai-Ogrodniki checkpoint near Sejny in Poland.

Drivers are also experiencing slightly more difficulties when traveling to Germany via Frankfurt (Oder), Milenas said.

Polish media report that farmers' protests are planned in more than 500 places across the country. According to TVN Warszawa, farmers are protesting against the European Green Deal and imports of cheaper agricultural and food products from third countries and unfair competition with their products.

In early March, Polish farmers ended their six-day protest at the border with Lithuania when they checked vehicles to see what they were transporting from Lithuania to Poland, fearing that some Ukrainian grain from Lithuania was returning to Poland. But no such cases were recorded.